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tv   Inside Washington  PBS  December 30, 2012 12:30pm-1:00pm PST

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>> "inside washington" is brought to you in part by the american federation of government employees -- proud to make america work. for more informationbout afge and membership, visit >> production assistance was provided by all but in communications and politico, reporting on the political and legislative arena. >> this week on "inside washington," the thrill of victory. >> barack obama has been reelected. >> the agony of defeat. >> this election is over, but
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our principles in north. >> the year 2012 in review. >> the supreme court has upheld the requirement that every american by health insurance. >> the year of the cliffhanger. >> raising tax rates is unacceptable. >> natural disasters. >> like the apocalypse. >> and human tragedies. >> saying someone is shooting in the auditorium. >> political fumbles. >> 5 seconds before you interrupted me. >> and shoppers. >> the seriousness of having a cia director involved in an extramarital affair cannot be overplayed. >> all right, as we look back, let's begin with the top political story of the year --
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the freight -- the reelection of barack obama. as "ti" magine plus a cover story states, barack obama will be the first democrat in more than 75 years to win a majority of the popular vote twice. mitt romney has to be asking himself, giving the magnitude of the president's problems and the great numbers of americans who believe the country was headed in the wrong direction, "how did i lose?" as the republican national convention, a vermont couple took the stage to describe how mitt romney helped their terminally ill son settle his fairs, but their story never meant it to tv. instead, the voters saw this. >> what do you want me to tell romney? i cannot tell him to do that. [laughter] >> that is a symptom of what went wrong in the campaign, and yet, as we observe here, we noted that the president was vulnerable at so many levels.
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the economic recovery moving at a snail's pace. there was great opposition to the affordable care act, obamacare, if you will. he bombed in the first debate. what thewas e ke to the obama victory? >> the obama campaign was a brilliant, disciplined campaign. it had a very narrow route to victory, and it proceeded to follow it with incredible discipline and a sense of direction, and they raced to a different level the organizational imperative in politics. but remember this -- five of the last six elections, the republicans have failed to win the popular vote. mittomneis i a succession. he is not an anomaly. >> the main reason for mitt romney's defeat, given the problems the president had. >> if you ask people at the end
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of 2011, middle of 2011, to look like a slam dunk for republicans. one of the reasons we are at the fiscal cliff is the republican resolution was under the tacit assumption that they would control the white house, so who cared about everything stacked against them. the main proble w obama ran an absolutely brilliant campaign. republicans had a very weak field, and romney was the best of a very weak field. he himself was a very odd candidate. after the financial crisis, a man essentially of wall street, and a man whose essential issue of the 2010 campaign was obamacare, but he had passed something similar in massachusetts. he had two strikes against him, whichade it very diffilt begins the difficult rigid discipline obama to win. >> i think obama won because republicans underestimated him,
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and they did it through sell collision that goes back to 2010 when they considered this to be a referendum on barack obama. it was not a referendum on barack obama. it was a referendum on the economy and the incumbent, but not barack obama the person. republicans left the race feeling like this would be a slam-dunk in 2012. they missed the fact that the turnout in 2010 was so far what -- so far below what it was in 2008, and the people who did not turn out in 2010 -- young people, african-americans, women -- came out in big numbers for barack obama because they never did leave him. 2010 was an anomaly, and they read too much into it, and they underestimated obama. >> according to the "boston glob" a couplef days before
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election day, mitt romney's manager signed a memo that the race was unmistakably moving in his direction. how could they have been so wrong? >> in all the polling, they assumed a smaller turnout by democrats than they got. really, what they were really guilty of was phenomenal over caution. they thought they could win simply on the economy. "the economy is bad. we will win by default." as a result, they allowed democrats to define their guy a a clueless, out of touch rich guy and did nothing to rebut that, even though i think mitt romney is a much better person than they allowed him to appear to the american public. they were so cautious, so careful. they were afraid of more monism. they blew it. >> take a look at this, please. >> on the boardwalk, places of
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my childhood no longer exist. >> after sandy ravaged the jersey shore days prior to the election, the nations of goveor cis christie, a romney supporter, buddying up to president obama. >> when you know you have a responsibility to those folks, you could give a dam about the politics of things. i could care less today. >> what is chris christie's political future? >> re-election looks quite probable, to the point where the mayor of newark, seen as his principal opponent, has decided to look in other venues to pursue his own political future. he record the highest favorable job rating ever found in any governor of new jersey in its history after his handling of sandy. >> that that natural disaster and the reaction of governor christie and the reaching out to the president -- did that help president obama? >> it certainly did.
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i do not think it was decisive. if the election had been held a week earlier, you look at the polls on that day, but it was a lot closer. i think obama would have won, but it would not have been an electoral landslide. i ink his 2% advantage in the popular vote probably would have been a point less. it is remarkable -- in the exit poll, people asked how important obama's handling of sandy was -- 9% said it was the most important issue. 18% said it was one of the most important issues. a very high number. if you look at the trajectory of the polls, it clearly had an effect, but i do not think it was a decisive effect. i think the roots of the defeat of romney were a lot deeper than that. >> it is a harbinger ofhe future in is sense. i think he is a perfect messenger because he has a weight problem and a bit too much of a mouth on him, saying to the american people that the american people do not care about politics, they want to accomplish things and get things
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done -- that is a powerful message that both sides shy away from. he went right for it. i think that is the future. >> romney was also guilty of some stuff. democrats tried to define him a certain way, but he defined himself. he defined himself plenty through that 47% remark that tripped him up, but he was a plutocrat, and he talked that way and did nothing to disabuse people of the appearance of his being an out of touch rich guy. >> you wanted to give christie and attaboy, right? >> i did. i think the best line in the most trenchant line given in either convention was his statement that our problems are big and the solutions will not be painles we all must sre in the sacrifice, and any leader that tells us differently is simply not telling the truth.
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that made the rummy/ryan people uncomfortable, and it should make all of us uncomfortable -- that made the romney/ryan people uncomfortable. >> do we have favorite political debts? >> it did not cost him the election, but it should have, but the president saying if you have a business, you did not build that. pele aue the syntax, and it is the context, he meant it is the government that builds roads and bridges, and i thought it was pretty telling the way he uses government versus the private sector. that is my nominee. romney's was the most devastating. the 47%einforced a stereotype that obama had spent a lot of money doing in ads, and after that, he really could not shake it. >> what about binders full of women recruiting for him? >> i think he topped that st-
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ection with his description of obama winning because of the gifts that he gave. >> but that was after the election. i was just wondering about the impact it had on women voters. >> he had this very well-paid adviser who was unbelievably cautious and felt he could win is by default. how he could put clint eastwood up there and not know what clint eastwood was going to say has to be the biggest single political blunder of the year. >> why did mike murphy not get involved? >> mitt romney went after mike murphy, according to all reports. he had been responsible, key in his election as governor, but just on the women thing, one point -- mitt romney carried white women's vote 54%-42%. that is a decisive, a decisive victory. >> he carried married women. >> they underestimated this
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election. they had no idea of the turnout. they were basing it on a turnout -- ty were embedded with george of the bush with whites, with women, but 74% that bush won in 2004 down to 71%. republicans are in serious trouble. >> to reinforce that, they ran higher with whites in 2010. they concluded the wrong thing, but barack obama was not on the ballot in 2010. >> unexplored story of the year -- wte men dropping out -- dropping out of the work force, dropping out of elections, just plain dropping out, getting social security, not doing anything, going hunting, fishing, just not in the game. >> i remember earlier in the year, you said the wild card was angry white men. what happened to them? >> that is what i'm talking
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about. they dropped out. as a percentage of the work force, they are dropping down, more and more of benefits, more and more not voting, just dropping down. >> i think the angry white men thngs a myth cated in -41 republicans swept into the house because liberals could not imagine that the perfect order of nature had been overturned. it had to be explained by angry white men. i looked at the polls that year and there was nothing in that would support that. i do think the real story of the year that the future will look at is the inevitable increase in debt, and nobody is serious about doing anything about it. that is going to kill us. >> reminisce -- the last six elections, democrats have carried a minimum of 18 states and 242 electoral votes. republicans have to do something. >> we will be back. do not worry. >> charles says he will be back. in politics, always expect the
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unexpected. >> breaking news now coming in regarding the chief of the cia, general david petraeus. >> can you talk to us, please? >> all right, talk about expecting the unexpected. who would have thought that the hon regarded headed the cia, general david petraeus, would quit his job because of an extramaritalffair? very disciplined man. is there a lesson for this, people? or people in high-profile jobs? >> it is never learn. the idea that it is usual for the cia director to have an affair -- the sainted allen dulles used to give his wife a diamond every time he commenced a new extramarital affair. may be the rules are little different. >> it was a different time. >> but you could go forward, and believe me, subsequently, there have been directors -- you want to name them? no. but i do t understand why the president did not just tell him to apologize and go back to work. >> really?
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do you agree with that? >> but he did not give the president a chance. as soon as he knew the story was coming up, he resigned. first of all, he announced the affair and his resignation. >> obama wanted 24 hours to think about it. >> but he in effect said, "i am going to step down. >> what the president said, cassette and know, do not do that?" -- what if the president said, "no, do not do that?" >> in a book, david petraeus is quoted as saying that he has a front page of the "washington post" role. unlike most cia directors that do not have a public persona that they have developed and looked at. this is something that was nurtured, burnish, and
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courage, developed from a subsidized by the trades. >> -- subsidized by petraeus. >> at a time when divorce rates were low and america had more stable marriages, we had fdr, eisenhower, kennedy that had affairs. they were not penalized. dulles has an airport named after him. >> different dulles. >> the family. may be it washe diamond-giving everyear that d it -- maybe it was the diamond- giving every year that did it. the irony is that he is at a time when divorce rates are 50%, and we react with this sort of extreme reaction when we have a case of that happening with a high official. >> i think he should apologize. he should be punished. he should pay a public price.
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apologize, be shamed, and he would be, but why can he not go back to work? >> i cannot swer that. lemesk you another question -- do members of congress read polls? it is a serious question. approvalago, congress' rating was 18%, an improvement over august where it was 10%. if this good deal -- the fiscal could deal -- the fiscal cliff deal. you think during their well- earned christmas break, both sides would find a way to come together and do something. >> this is n the fault of congress. congress is behaving like congress. this is the president's fault here the president needs to go to the country and explain why they need to get this done. he has never done this. >> i have heard him talk about it over and over incessantly about why we have to avoid the fiscal clip. it is the fault of congress.
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they created this fiscal cliff. they did it. no one else imposed this on them. >> the president has never gone to the natioand made a sio speech about debt. he ignored it the first two years. he appoints a commission that he studiously ignores for the next two years. that is why we are at the clip now. he is not serious about the debt. none of his proposals to raise taxes on the rich. he has never put any political capital in entitlement reform our tax reform. he'll talk about it here and there. never invested any capital in it. >> any difference of opinion? >> if it is such a trivial amount, the raising of taxes on the wealthy, then why the squealing, the yelling, the hurt feelings of all this plutocrats? my goodness gracious. i will say this -- right now, he
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is absolutely right. all the political advantage is with the president, but if this thing comes to a complete halt and falls, then there would be political blame across the board, and it will undermine all public confidence in the public sector. >> all political advances with the president? what is he running for? he won. this is his time to actually take some political hits and tell the truth for the change instead of trying to get political advantage. >> all right, a look at war and foreign policy in 2012. >> this time of war began in afghanistan, and this is where it will end. >> afghanistan is now the nation's longest war. more than two dozen americans have died in fighting it. in 2012, the president promised that the end was in sight. what did our brave young men and women in uniform achieve in afghanista in the year 201 >> we lost a lot.
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we lost a lot. we can say that they did find and they did get osama bin laden, but they are paying a terrible price. >> was the idea to get rid of al qaeda? and now they are fighting the taliban? how long does this go on? what is the rationale? >> i think the rationale disappeared years ago. i think obama had an opportunity when he came in office to make the decision, and he went for a replay of the surge in iraq, which succeeded in iraq, but he did not give -- i am not sure weather it would have had any chance, but he supplied a number of troops much lower than with the commanders had asked for. it was supposed to be a sequential operation.
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the south and in the east. in the e, heecid to end the search before doing east. i still think, given how unpopular the taliban are in afghanistan, there is no assurance that are going to retake the country. i think what will happen is a return to the civil war, the no. alliance against taliban when we leave, and i think we cannot leave soon enough. >> what we have seen is the emergence of at least, by our standards, a more civilized and humane society with our encouragement, with our stewardship, with our protection, d with our muscle, and the real probability if not likelihood, maybe inevitability, that when we withdraw, that they will revert to the punishment of women, the failure to educate, and i think that weighs on our conscience, but that is not justification for a war, and it certainly does not meet the test -- >> i believe i read somewhere
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that there were talking about giving women a break, the taliban. >> we do not know. if we had left some years ago if al qda would ve ce back in some real way. you cannot prove that. >> syria -- how did the united states, the government, the administration handles syria? appropriately, and appropriately, enough, not enough? >> the good thing about afghanistan and iraq wars is that key wheat -- they are keeping us out of syria. we are war-wary. then a serious is a disaster. it is a country with a hug ockpe ofhemil weaps. we have allowed the saudis and the qatari to arm the rebels, and they are people who are on the islamists, so the islamists now have the upper hand among the rebels. the west did not do anything comparable with the non-islamic opposition. we are looking at possible
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country that would divide into three or four, like yugoslavia, or could become 80 hottest -- and syria is a serious country. it is not libya, not afghanistan, and i think we will regret hing d nonfluce on the outcome. >> the fact is that there are opponents of that regime that we would not be associated with either. that is the difficulty there. >> at what point do we say, "that is enough?" we have a military service that is at the breaking point. deployment after deployment after deployment. if we want to spread this across and gauge the entirsystem -- in gauge the entire society in it -- a point that has been advocated by the former chief of
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naval operations and joint chiefs of staff -- they are saying you cannot do this with an all-volunteer service. >> after last night, i want a man who had the good sense to marry michelle obama. [applause] >> i am nominating former president bill clinton's democratic nional convenon speechn 2012 as the political speech of the year. anybody want to challenge me? >> i would echo that. he galvanized that convention, brought them to their feet, galvanized the political party. and they came out of there as a united party. >> he has a huge approval rating. >> second act if not third act in american life. bill clinton proves it. mad a better case for barack obama and joe biden and barack obama and joe biden had ever
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made. the other thing about bill clinton's speech is he had the ultimate line in it -- "this economy was so bad even i could not have fixed it." >> you pointed out in the opening of the show what was the worst political moment, which was the clint eastwood wasting 12 minutes of prime time when just before, you have had these truly heart rending stories -- artwarmi stoes aut te humaty of the republican challenger, and also a bio which was not shown. that was terrible. >> the reason why clinton's speech worked was because people know it was bill clinton giving that speech. so many speeches are written by someone else, and they read that way, and the public is sick of it. >> finally, predictions for the year ahead in the supreme court. >> the supreme court -- it will be a gonzoear involving the
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supreme court possibly striking down the voting rights act, the obstruction of gay marriage, and even weather you can patent -- whether you can patent a genie. >> happy new year to you. she gets the last word. we will see you next year. thanks. >> for a transcript of this broadcast, log on to >> "inside washington" is brought to you in part by the american federation of government employees -- proud to make america work. for more information, visit for more information, visit
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